NBA Finals betting: Picks for Celtics vs Warriors Game 5
Shane McNichol makes his picks for Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics.
The Golden State Warriors took care of business in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, riding a stellar performance from Steph Curry to knot the series at 2-2. The series now turns back to Golden State, with home court advantage back on the Warriors’ side.
Game 5, as it often does, could swing the entire series, either putting Boston on the brink of elimination or giving the Celtics a chance to win the title on their home floor.
With both teams in need of their best possible performance, there is plenty of room for bettors to find value on tonight’s game. These are my four favorite picks for Game 5.
Jayson Tatum over 27.5 points
So far in the Finals, Golden State has been able to keep Tatum relatively in check. He’s averaged 22.3 points per game in the four contests, failing to top the 30-point threshold yet in this series.
That would be notable, after he scored 30 or more points in at least two games of each of Boston’s prior three series this postseason. In fact, Tatum topped 27.5 points in 10 of the Celtics first 18 postseason games this year.
Some of his downturn is due to the Golden State defense, which has forced Tatum to be more deferential to his teammates. His nearly eight assists per game show that he’s been a willing passer when the Warriors overcommit to his drives. Yet he's also struggled to find the right shots.
Tatum has made a red-hot 45 percent from outside the arc in the series, but is struggling on the interior. Tatum has actually shot much better from long range than inside the arc, where Golden State has held him to 28.5 per cent shooting in this series.
That is a very encouraging number if you are a Golden State Warriors fan, proving just how much the Dubs have been able to bother the Celtics’ best offensive weapon. It is not, however, likely to sustain throughout a full series. If Tatum makes the necessary adjustments to find better looks at the rim, he’s going to drop 30 points in a game soon, with tonight seeming to fit the bill.
Klay Thompson over 3.5 3-pointers made
After missing a long period of time due to injury, Thompson is slowly starting to look like he has his swagger back on the court. In any game, or really any quarter of any game, he’s liable to get hot and quickly rain in a handful of threes.
In this series, he’s averaging 9.5 attempts from outside the arc per game, and shooting a low (for him) percentage of 34.5 per cent. If you’re giving me ten 3-point attempts from Klay Thompson and asking me to bet on him making four of those ten, I’ll take those odds every single time.
Thompson has made more than 3.5 deep balls in six of his last eight NBA Finals games. I like his chances to continue to shoot like he always has.
1st quarter over 51.5 points
This market is a test for bettors. So far, each of the four games in this series has not only gone over this number in the first quarter, they have all cleared 55 points, and two of them even topped 60 points.
For some bettors, that signals a chance for regression. The next game is due for a slowed down quarter as the teams make adjustments and settle in.
I’d disagree and think we’re looking at a trend. Both of these teams look to start quickly and both coaches keep their best scorers on the court deep into the first quarter. Even with Steve Kerr and Ime Udoka scrambling to find answers defensively, I expect the high scoring first quarters to continue so I’ll nab the over here.
Marcus Smart under 25.5 points + rebounds + assists
Of the big-name players in this series, Smart is among the toughest to bet on, due to the high variance in his production. In a Game 3 win, Smart totaled 35 points, rebounds, and assists on eight for 17 shooting from the field. In a Game 2 loss, he only took six field goal attempts and finished with only two points and two rebounds.
Game 4 was a good one on paper for smart. He had 18 points, with five assists and four rebounds, yet he was inefficient on the offensive end with his typically streaky shooting biting Boston throughout the game. The Celtics lost the minutes Smart played by 17 points, a tragic number considering Boston outscored Golden State when Jayson Tatum was on the floor.
The return of Gary Payton II, although in limited minutes, gives the Warriors a foil to much of Smart’s impact on the game. Smart’s struggles are likely to be more affected in the final box score than they were in Game 4.